Mela Chiraghan, also known as the Festival of Lights, is one of the most popular and celebrated festivals in Lahore, Pakistan. It is a two-week-long event that takes place every year in the month of March, after the festival of Holi. The festival is celebrated by people of all religions and backgrounds, and it is a time for families and friends to come together and celebrate.
History of Mela Chiraghan
The festival has a rich history that dates back to the 16th century during the reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar. The story goes that a Sufi saint named Shah Hussain used to light lamps every night on the banks of the Ravi River to show his devotion to God. He was known to have a close relationship with the emperor, who visited him regularly. It is said that on one of his visits, Akbar asked Shah Hussain what he wished for, and the saint replied, “I wish for the light of knowledge to be spread among the people.”
The emperor granted his wish and ordered the construction of a tomb for Shah Hussain, which became a popular pilgrimage site for people of all religions. The tradition of lighting lamps on the banks of the Ravi River continued, and it eventually became known as Mela Chiraghan or the Festival of Lights.
Celebrations and Traditions
The festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm and energy in Lahore, with people from all walks of life coming together to participate in the festivities. The celebrations kick off with the lighting of lamps and candles at the shrine of Shah Hussain, and the lighting continues throughout the two-week-long event. The city is decorated with lights and colorful banners, and the streets are filled with music and dancing.
One of the main attractions of the festival is the Sufi music and dance performances that take place at various venues across the city. These performances are a tribute to the great Sufi saints of Pakistan and are an integral part of the festival.
Another important tradition of Mela Chiraghan is the distribution of free food, or langar, to the poor and needy. This is a practice that has been followed since the time of Shah Hussain and is a way to promote equality and compassion.
The festival also includes a fair, where vendors sell traditional clothes, handicrafts, and other items. The fair is a great place to shop and experience the vibrant culture of Lahore.
Mela Chiraghan is a festival that celebrates the spirit of unity, compassion, and devotion. It is a time for people to come together and share in the joy of this vibrant and colorful festival. If you ever find yourself in Lahore during the month of March, be sure to check out Mela Chiraghan and experience the magic of the Festival of Lights.